The latest trend for most companies is to invest heavily on social media marketing, search engine optimization and lead nurturing, collectively called Inbound Marketing. When done effectively as part of lead generation program, inbound marketing can pay significant results to the bottom line. However, what happens when you’re not selling a hot product or service (i.e. there’s a high volume of Google searches for related terms)?
Having worked with over 100 different companies to assess their lead generation programs and help improve performance, I have seen the whole spectrum. We have had the opportunity to work with companies that are in hot segments (i.e. IT Security, Alternative Energy, and Technology Manufacturing) to those in segments that are obscure and largely unheard of. In doing so, we have also seen the limitations that inbound marketing alone can have. While popular segments can achieve unbeatable results, what do you do when no one is looking for your solution?
Prospects Are Not Looking For Your Solution
This is especially true in companies that are so innovative that they have to create the marketplace. While inbound marketing tactics are worth doing as you build up a cache of content and links to be in a strong position as the market grows, inbound marketing alone will not drive the level of lead generation required to sustain the organization. It’s often in these cases that there a need for certain outbound marketing tactics such as email marketing and online advertising to generate leads. The great part is that, when done effectively, most of the assets you develop for your inbound marketing tactics can be used for your outbound initiatives.
Unfortunately, some companies that should be focused on outbound marketing are deceived into thinking that inbound marketing is working for them when it’s really not. It’s because of this that one of the first steps we do with all our clients is do a complete buyer persona to not only understand to whom they sell, but also where their target audience spends their time, both online and off. Often there are many components of inbound marketing but often-outbound tactics are also needed.
Statistics show that the most dangerous competitor you face is the status quo — it’s your prospect’s decision to do nothing or not even realize they have a problem. They do not need to actively search for a solution when they do not even think that they have a problem to solve. If you want to grow your business, you’ll need to challenge your customer’s status quo and provoke them into to do something different. Often this requires outbound marketing tactics. For a great webinar on how to overcome the “no decision” response, check out Corporate Visions’ How to Break the Status Quo Barrier.
A reason why I named my company Inbound Sales Network was that I saw a gap in inbound marketing where there was a need to drive more than just web traffic, or build a community for our clients. There was a need to drive sales qualified leads and drive revenue. In order to fill this gap, we used marketing automation. Marketing automation provided us the opportunity to use effective email marketing to move our prospects away from their status quo. We then used inbound marketing tactics to help educate them and nurture them through to the buying stage.
HubSpot, creators of inbound marketing, has also seen this gap. If you look at how they built their product, you see that they are utilizing email marketing more and more in addition to marketing automation to help nurture their inbound marketing leads into sales qualified leads. I have had the pleasure to work on their platform for over four years and while there are great benefits, it’s not a complete solution, yet. However, they have had significant investments and are working at adding more great features.
While it is important to practice all the tenants of inbound marketing, don’t forget that there are some outbound tactics that can still drive significant business. It’s important to asses who your target audience is, understand their typical buying process, help them see their company in a new light and move them away from their status quo. This information is the base on which you can build your lead generation initiatives.
Want to learn more about how to build a lead generation engine that maps to your customers buying process? Check out this free guide, The Executives’ Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine.
View original blog post – Why Inbound Marketing Alone Doesn’t Work
Thanks for bringing up this topic. While many prospects wish to spend their entire budget on inbound marketing it is still critical to hold back some budget for outbound. Sometimes I feel “dead in the water” with no outbound budget for clients. I prefer to use social & Google PPC for outbound, but direct mail and signage have been known to turbo charge an inbound marketing campaign too.
There is little doubt that more and more companies see the value that inbound marketing delivers and are investing more resources in that direction, but you make a great point Andrew (btw great name!)…combining inbound with appropriately positioned outbound actions can deliver powerful results. Recently I wrote a post on the idea of the hybrid marketing agency that Paul Roetzer of PR2020 (www.pr2020.com) has written a book on(http://inboundmarketingexperts.ca/blog-0/bid/69382/Single-Solution-PR-SEO-Social-Media-Companies-They-Don-t-Deliver) and I think that 2012 will be a year that sees many organizations look to what is the best mix…and this will be different for each company. Thanks for this post!
Inbound marketing could not stand alone. In these uncertain economic times, many decision makers are adverse to change, requiring more and more economic justification for each proposal, thus making it hard for even high ROI projects to get approved. Most of the big players adopt a broader social media customer relation an easy CRM (“http://www.mesocrm.com”)that suits your company needs.